Medina County Courthouse

Monday, December 11, 2006

Warning: Hearsay Ahead

When an attorney asks questions of a witness such as "are you aware", or "did you learn", often it is to hide the fact that the witness's knowledge is based on hearsay and not on personal knowledge. Evid. R. 602 requires that a witness have "personal knowledge" of a matter before testifying about such matter. The rule reads as follows:

RULE 602. Lack of Personal Knowledge
A witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that he has personal knowledge of the matter. Evidence to prove personal knowledge may, but need not, consist of the testimony of the witness himself. This rule is subject to the provisions of Rule 703, relating to opinion testimony by expert witnesses.

"Personal knowledge", as used above, does not include information given to the witness by another, which, if offered for the truth of the matter asserted, is hearsay and subject to the provisions of Evid. R. 801, et seq. In the situation described above, the trial court should be told something like "Objection, lack of personal knowledge".

1 comment:

Gerry said...

Thank you for the Hearsay Rule. I saved it as a Word Document, and I will forward it to my litigation clients to temper their expectations about "who can say what" if the case gets to trial. Who must be subpoeanaed, etc,.